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CES 2011: Go big or go home at annual tech gathering


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    Last year the buzz was all about 3D TV. This year the idiot box is getting smart. LG an others are rolling out sleek sets that connect seamlessly to the net.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Attendance is up. Final figures are not in but the the Consumer Electronics Association expects that this year the show will have many more visitors than 2010.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    One more way to attract attention: spend some cash an hire Ozzy to shake hands in your booth. Of course it could backfire -- Steve Henn had no idea what was in that booth.

    Henn asked Ozzy how long he had been doing this for. "My whole life..."

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    That fuzzy picture is actually a 3D image of me (Steve Henn). It is actually a mashup of two photos taken by that little red camera in the foreground -- The Olympus Tough 310. Only problem: even with the goggles I am just as blurry.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    This is a tiny LED spotlight made by Olympus. For sixty buck you can light up the tightest shots

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Okay I asked. The electronics are in their new line of vibrators. Apparently vibrators are a billion dollar business. Who knew?

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    And you still haven't heard of them because all the journalists at CES were distracted by the Trojan booth.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Check out Qi. It might just bring a wireless charger into you home that works with most cell phones and gadgets in the world. That's right -- totally wireless. Magnetic induction uses magnetic fields to move electrons. The technology has been around since Tesla experimented with it more than 100 years ago.

    But before it could work with a lot of different devices there had to be a common standard. Enter the Wireless Power Consortium and its new standard Qi. More than 70 companies have signed on. The charger recognizes the power need of your device and delivers what it needs.

    The folks here say the devices match most wall chargers for efficiency -- but that is a low bar.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Just when they qualified for medicare boomers can now buy a bi-focal that changes the prescription automatically based on the tilt angle of one's head.

    Look down reading. Look up distance. And if you are standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon looking at the Colorado River switch it's okay - you can switch to manual controls.

    PixelOptics emPower' lens cost about $1200. They work with liquid crystal that is embedded in the lens communicating with a computer module with an accelerometer in the temple of your glasses.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    This tough little camera by Contour is supposed to be waterproof to 10 meters. It can shoot for a couple hours and tracks your adventure with a built in GPS chip. And now it has Bluetooth!

    So as you careen to your death plunging off a cliff a Squaw Valley next Christmas you can watch your own demise live on your smartphone.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    I am a sucker for this stuff. I want one.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Vendors demonstrate a 3M Touch Systems Inc. 32-inch, multi-touch display during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. The display can handle up to 60 touch inputs at once and can be used with anything that runs on Windows 7.

    - Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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    Liquid Image's Wide Angle Scuba Series HD Video Camera Mask is displayed during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The mask features a 136-degree wide angle lens capturing 720P video.

    - Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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    The Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid device, which combines LePad, a 10-inch Android-powered tablet (L) with a Windows-powered base station (R) on display on media preview day at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Currently the IdeaPad U1 is only for sale in China but is due to be released in the US later this year.

    - Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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    Intel President and CEO Paul S. Otellini speaks at the Intel press conference at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. Intel unveiled the second generation of its Core processors - codenamed "Sandy Bridge."

    - Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

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    The Smart Blood Pressure Monitor from Withings, a traditional arm strap style blood pressure monitor which connects to an iPhone or iPad for instant readouts is on display on press preview day at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show.

    - Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

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    An Internet-connected laundry machine and dryer on display at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Blackberry Playbook booth.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Not sure how you would fit these bendable smartphones into your pocket but they are gorgeous.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Could the height of booths at CES be a leading economic indicator? As the show floor get more and more crowded, the easiest way the get noticed is to go up.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    There are ways to attract attention without reaching for the ceiling. You can always make some noise, like the Skullcandy booth.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Making some noise at the Skullcandy booth.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    At the Skullcandy booth.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

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    Viva Las Vegas. Marketplace technology reporter Steve Henn snapped this iconic shot after arriving in Sin City for the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.

    - Steve Henn/Marketplace

Vendors demonstrate a 3M Touch Systems Inc. 32-inch, multi-touch display during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. The display can handle up to 60 touch inputs at once and can be used with anything that runs on Windows 7.

Liquid Image's Wide Angle Scuba Series HD Video Camera Mask is displayed during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The mask features a 136-degree wide angle lens capturing 720P video.

by Jaclyn Giovis
UPDATE: Thursday, January 5, 2010

The International Consumer Electronics Show is a gadget lover's paradise minus one: Apple.

The iPad maker infamously skips this annual Las Vegas party, which officially kicked off Thursday to huge crowds of industry executives, journalists and techies. More than 126,000 people are expected to attend the world's largest consumer technology conference, hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Even in its absence, Apple is an A-list industry celebrity whose trendsetting ways heavily influences the four-day tradeshow. (Lest we forget the 2007 moment when Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone at a rival convention?) Still, Apple used the focus on new consumer gadgets to unveil its new Mac app store, which sell applications for your laptop or desktop computer just like it does for the iPad and iPhone.

This year, the show stoppers at CES are expected to be in the tablet category, as companies such as Motorola Inc., Lenovo and Toshiba Corp. vie for a piece of a growing market and jockey for the limelight. The tablet market is expected to surge to more than 50 million units in 2011.

The company to beat is Apple, of course, who reigns as the tablet market leader. And with buzz and excitement stirring around Apple's launch of the iPad 2 this year, early tradeshow goers already are flooding cyber space with details and sightings of an iPad 2 case prototype (SEE PHOTOS).

Internet TV catches up
Another trend playing out at CES this year is the growth of Internet TV and technology products to support it. Internet TV allows consumers to choose the program they want to watch from an archive of programs or from a channel directory.

TVs and Blu-ray players that stream content from the Internet and make it easy for consumers to access content from their remote control are expected to be all the rage this year. Netflix on Tuesday announced that remote controls for certain televisions will soon come equipped with a big red button - as in the big red Netflix logo - that will take you directly to their video streaming service.

Last year, CES revolved around Android products and apps to tablets, eReaders, netbooks and smartphones. 3D TVs were trotted out and promised as a top seller, but sales haven't quite measured up to expectations.

It's often hard to guess which products will live or die after CES. But CES promoters say this: this tradeshow promises to be bigger and better than the one last year.

Here's a snapshot of last year's CES:
- 126,641 industry professionals in attendance, a 12 percent increase from 2009.
- 2,500 global companies were represented, including a record 330 first time exhibitors.
- Companies unveiled about 20,000 new products.
- Exhibits spanned across 1.4 million net square feet of space.
- International attendees from 136 countries helped increase global attendance by more than 8 percent over 2009.
- The top 10 countries represented were: Canada, Korea, China, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom, Taiwan, France, Brazil and Germany.
- CES is the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow and North America's largest annual tradeshow of any kind.

Vendors demonstrate a 3M Touch Systems Inc. 32-inch, multi-touch display during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. The display can handle up to 60 touch inputs at once and can be used with anything that runs on Windows 7.

Liquid Image's Wide Angle Scuba Series HD Video Camera Mask is displayed during a press event at the Venetian for the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The mask features a 136-degree wide angle lens capturing 720P video.

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